one of the reasons public transit sucks…

… is that, when you use it to get to a Zumba class that you’re trying for the first time, and your ex-therapist walks in? That moment when you can bang your head gently against your steering wheel while intoning “oh god, oh no, oh god, oh no” is delayed for much too long. And the bus driver probably won’t let you use his steering wheel, even if you could explain why you needed it in Pfälzisch.

But I did enjoy the Zumba class. But I’m not sure if I can go back. Maybe I will go back. But I will definitely take the car.

Song du jour of the day: Running Up That Hill, by Placebo


kitty update

Hecate Moonbeam Aveline Nightwalker Spookypants has emerged from the basement and apparently decided that all our purple throw pillows are belong to her. She looks very picturesque on them, though good pictures do not yet abound, due to crappy celephone camera and poor light. She will sit on your lap and submit to head skritchles if you hold still long enough, so that’s progress, but she still bolts at any sudden move (and we are a family of poor impulse control, oops). As her third name indicates, she is still nocturnal, and has been meowing me awake aroud 5 a.m. for the last three days. This was bearable during the long weekend, but I expect it’ll be harder to cope with when I have to do things like go to work. Still and all, I am pleased that she has calmed down a bit. We want her to be happy here.

(Edited to add photo)

(Edited to add photo)

Song du jour of the day: Hold on to You, by Madrugada

new cat, not the same as the old cat

Oh, right, here’s a Thing that’s been happening. Um, well, you know Lilu died at the end of January and it was horrid and I grieved (and still do). I am croggled: how does the loss of an 8-pound cat make our gigantic house seem so empty?

So in April I started campaigning for a cat from the local shelter. I didn’t want to raise another cat from infancy – turns out you get too attached when you do that, and besides, shelter cats need rescuing. After considerable debate (A Certain Husband may have changed his mind a few more times than was strictly necessary) we settled on a black foundling named Mona. She still needed to be fixed (the pound is very against unnecessary kittens) and vaccinated and given ID-tattoos (badass pirate kitty). Then she needed 10 days to recover, and someone from the pound visited our house to make sure we know what we’re getting into and we’re not living in filth or buying cats to feed to our alligators or something, and then on Friday we got to take her home and change her name – because srsly, James Taylor wrote a song about a pig named Mona and that’s a song virus I can live without. Now she has to live inside and poop in a box for six weeks, and then we can let her out.

Maybe.  Continue reading


… is the practice of reading the future in animal guts. The Babylonians did it, and so did the Etruscans, who passed the practice on to the Romans. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but in my head it sounds like “extra spicy!”

Working in academia –> awesome factoids.

Song du jour of the day: Love Train, by the O jays!


Back when the Oompahs visited, we took a boat tour up the river to Neckarsteinach (a four-castle town!), and in passing the tour-guide voice on the PA pointed out a walled town on top of a nearby “mountain” (yeah, about that: I’m a former resident of the Far West, so for me, if it doesn’t have snow on it year-round, it’s not a real mountain. But people from Back East will persist in their little delusions and I’ve found it convenient to play along most of the time) that has never been conquered ever, he said.

About 6 weeks  ago, on a sunny Saturday, DrBob and I decided another mini road trip was in order, so we decided to check this place out. I can well believe it was never conquered, as we had a helluva time finding it. There might have been signs, but we couldn’t remember the name of the place, so they wouldn’t have helped. We kept seeing it on the other side of the river, but couldn’t figure out how to get across.

Eventually we came across a tee-tiny ferry which, HILARIOUS! Because for me, this is a ferry.  The thing we rode across the river was more like… a toy. Of course I was all a-squee, and spent a fair bit of time amusing myself with the notion of an invading army having to rely on this means of transport.ferry1

So thanks to tiny toy ferry, we did eventually find the town – Dilsberg is its terribly forgettable name - and we did our usual tourist thing: wander around, drink some coffee, leave.

Song du jour of the day: Mermaid, by Yuna.

Mallorca the second

… day, that is. The second day. Another unexpectedly long drive out to Cap de Formentor, because of me and the edge of the world. This is the northeasterlymost point on the island and the road is very long and curvy and you drive about three times the distance that a crow would fly, frequently getting stuck behind struggling cyclists. Mallorca is apparently veeeery popular with cyclists. Anyway.


The lighthouse is blurry because it is inside a CLOUD.


The clouds are BELOW us. Wow.


That valley? Is full of CLOUD.








It was a long drive, but really really worth it. All pine forests and lonely stretches of road, very soothing since we’d driven up the east coast through the Tourist Zoo towns to get there.

After Cap de Formentor we went to Pollença, which I really liked, though we didn’t stay long, just for lunch. Here’s a Plaça, don’t know if it was the Plaça Major or another one:


Not really special, just… nice. Cool and leafy and pretty and pleasant. There’d been a Roman settlement nearby called Pollentia, said the guidebook, but we didn’t find it until we drove to Alcúdia, closer to the coast. Also nice, when we were there, but it’s clearly been shinied up for the tourists, which weren’t due till the following week (i.e., now). Which I guess is why the Roman ruins were closed and we couldn’t get in to see them. Oh well.

On the third day we went to Artà, where we climbed a bunch oralcudia2f stairs to a churchurchalcudiach and a swell view. Nice little artsy-type place, they have a much-hyped market to which the hotel organized bus tours. We arrived just as the market was closing, which was a good thing because there were no crowds and the stallholders were too busy shutting down to hustle us. Except for a guy who sold DrBob a leather bag, but that’s okay. He’s been using it every day since.

Cala Ratjada seems to be the port/beach part of Artà. This is another place that I think we liked because it wasn’t tourist season yet – very nice waterfront promenade that is probably a lot less nice when it’s awash in sunburns and flip-flops. But on that day, it was peaceful and charming and I took pictures of boats.

And on the last day we had an 8pm flight, so we decided to take the long way back to Palma and stop in Cala Figuera, which is where DrBob really fell in love. Many adorable houses and boats and possible some kind of built-into-the-cliff stuff on the other side of the bay which we should’ve checked out, but we wanted to leave ourselves sufficient time in Palma. But I have a hunch we’ll be back. He’s still talking about it.







Aaand then we drove to Palma and did the City Thing. You know how cities are, especially the old ones, it’s hard to back up enough to get a good shot of anything, so it’s probably better just to buy the postcards. The professional photogs can at least get the tourists to clear off for a minute.

So yeah. It was mostly a lovely relaxing trip, except for the bit where we left the kids at home to fend for themselves and despite their many assurances, they both overslept on Monday so one of them was late to school and the other didn’t go at all that day, so after that I had to get up at 7 every morning to call them and make sure they got out of bed. Even that wasn’t all bad: it allowed me to see this.


Song du jour of the day: Forget What I Said, by Noora Noor. Never heard of it before, but YouTube recommended it.

Mallorca! Part One.

We went to Mallorca! And I took about 60 pictures, some of which make me go “Wow, what was I thinking?” Even so, there are probably 30 or 40 usable ones, which I have poured into my computer the hard way, because it doesn’t recognize my celephone as a drive, which is SO annoying am I digressing, yeah, sorry. Anyway. We went to Mallorca!

I always start vacations off totally excited, photographing and documenting every little thing, so day 1 featured shots of the rental car, the fronrbeeach4t of the hotel, grocery store donuts (apparently the local word for donut is “floopy” which I found absolutely hilarious). Then I get into scenery and take a lot of indistinguishable landscape shots. Then I chill the fuck out (which is hello, the point of going on vacation) and forget to document anything because I am inching toward fatal relaxation. Then it’s time to go home.

Anyway. Day 1 was flight rental-car grocery store hotel check-in and finally, THE POINT: barefoot beachin’. It was awesome.

The hotel was fine, I’d recommend it to anyone (Castell de Mar, in Cala Millor, which is apparently better than Cala Bona, just up the coast), though it seems they want their German guests to die, as this sign was by the indoor pool:


Catalan: No launcha the head. Spanish: No throw-a the head. English: Don’t dive. German: Dive.

But we won’t stay there again because, as it turned out, we were scouting houses on Mallorca. Srsly, DrBob kept drifting toward the real estate stores like they had extra gravity or something. And it was a bit cool for lying on the beach, and we had a rental car, and it’s not a big island, so we explored the whole thing, pretty much. We found a lot of good stuff.

The guidebook said check out the castle at Alarò, so we said duh, okay! And set off on a truly hairy switchback drive up a goat trail heavily frequented by pedestrians who’d been smart enough to park at the bottom of the hill. We didn’t see any sign saying “hey! Turistas estúpidas, parque aquí” so we pootled on up until we got to the restaurant at Es Verger, where we had coffee, said a quick prayer and started back down. We never did make it to the castle, but the view from the mountainside was pretty spiffy.


I think this is the view from Alarò, but it could be anywhere on the island, actually.

What else? Ooo, Sóller, DrBob really liked that. Here’s the cathedral, before whocathedralsollerse plaza we discovered pa amb oli, one of those local specialties that is appallingly simple, but it was pretty well done at this place so that’s okay. Lunch was frequently interrupted by this weird hooty orange tram-thing. V. popular with the tourists, obv. Apparently the port is nice too, but we had this program laid out by the guidebook and we’d squandered a long time clawing our way up the mountain to Alarò, so we headed on to Lluc, which was really really neato – so fabulous that, um, I forgot to take any pictures, though I dug the origin story. It seems that a local boy found a black Madonna statue in the woods and dutifully delivered it to the church, but she disappeared – twice – and both times was found in the woods where she’d first been spotted by the kid. I like a statue with a sense of humor.

After Lluc we were exhausted, so we crawled back to the hotel, stuffed ourselves senseless at the buffet, and zonked out.

More tomorrow. Ish.

Song du jour of the day: Nina Simone. Feeling Good.


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